Sunday, November 6, 2011

Road Trips & Smells - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

This post for 52 Weeks of Personal History and Genealogy combines the topics of smells and road trips. Our family took lots of road trips when I was a kid. None of them were of the true cross country type but we took road trips all over the Pacific Northwest. There was one we took regularly;  from our home near Seattle to my grandparents home in Cheney, Washington.

There are three places we would stop for a break on our journey to Cheney: Ellensburg, Vantage near the Columbia River, and Moses Lake. In Ellensburg there was a restaurant right off of I-90 where we would stop to eat. I always enjoyed stopping in Vantage; there was A&W Root Beer, or something like it, and the Ginko Petrified Forest State Park. Sometimes we would get out and hike around Ginko and maybe have a picnic lunch. I've always been fascinated with petrified wood because of our stops here.

The most fun place to stop was in Moses Lake. There was a park with an awesome playground right next to the lake. It was the perfect place for little kids to burn off some energy after being cooped up in the car and have a nice picnic lunch. As we got older we didn't stop there as often probably because the park lost its allure.

So where do the smells come in? Well, when I was younger, our car didn't have air conditioning and Eastern Washington gets rather warm in the summer. So we had to drive with the windows open. The smell I can remember is that of Sage coming in the car windows from the desert. I've always been fond of Sage.

One last memory I have of these road trips was doing the drive at night. Our family had a station wagon so my parents would make beds for us in the way back and we could sleep on the ride over. This was in the days before seatbelts were mandatory. In fact, I'm not sure our station wagon even had seatbelts in the backseat. My how times change. I remember one night we had stopped for gas and I woke up and my mom said to me, "we're in George Washington and Martha's in here." I was perplexed but then she explained to me that we were in the town of George, in the state of Washington, and there was a motel called the Martha Inn. I know, bad joke.

Amy Coffin's series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a series of blogging prompts that "invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants."

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum


  1. Not very many people had air conditioning in their cars. In the early 1960's we took a family road trip to Florida in June with the car windows down. It was hot but it was just the way it was.

  2. Enjoyed this Michelle, felt like I was one of those kids along for the ride.

  3. Carol, Glad you were able to come along for the ride!

    Claudia, It was just the way it was. Now I can't even imagine dealing with no air conditioning in the car, even if it isn't a particularly hot day! My how times change. LOL